If you’re struggling with a sleep condition, you’re not alone. Almost 42 million American adults experience sleep-disordered breathing and one in five adults has mild obstructive sleep apnea. It’s way more common than people realize. And while it is not a fun condition to deal with, it is completely manageable at home with the right equipment and information. We have everything you need to know about using home medical equipment, specifically a CPAP machine, to handle whatever sleep apnea issues you might have.
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
Because sleep apnea can be a very serious medical condition (it’s basically when your airways close up or get blocked causing you to stop breathing while you sleep!), you need to get tested by your doctor in order to be diagnosed. It will most likely involve a sleep study (polysomnogram) performed at a sleep clinic.
How do I choose the right CPAP supplies?
There are a lot of options when it comes to home medical equipment but there are three main types of CPAP masks: the nasal mask which goes over your nose, the nasal pillow mask which goes under your nose, and the full mask which goes over both your mouth and your nose. It will usually be up to you to choose what is most comfortable for your personal preferences.
How often do I use my CPAP machine?
A CPAP machine must be used every single night to be effective or for at least six hours to reduce the long term health risks.
How long do I have to use CPAP for?
You’ll have to stay on your CPAP machine nightly until your doctor or other trained medical professional says otherwise. Unfortunately, skipping a night or two can bring all of your symptoms right back.
Should I clean my CPAP machine?
Yes, at least once a week, you should rinse the mask, tube and headgear with mild dish soap and warm water. You also need to replace the filter probably about once a month.
What if my CPAP mask is uncomfortable and affecting my sleep?
Remember that it will take time to adjust to sleeping with the mask. And as with any home medical equipment, you need to make sure it is properly fitted to your face. There is no one size fits all. Your local medical supply store should be able to help you find and adjust the right fit for your face. Dry mouth and runny nose are also both common complaints and can be easily fixed by changing the humidity level in your bedroom.
What are the benefits of using a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea?
There are so many benefits to the CPAP machine some of which include: reduced drowsiness during the day, increased alertness in everyday activities, elimination of snoring while sleeping, improved quality of nightly sleep, prevention of more serious health complications and lower blood pressure.